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PSYCH101 Lecture Notes - Stanley Milgram, Asthma, Ernest Hilgard

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Colin Mac Leod

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Chapter 9 Hypnosis
- Hypnotists merely engage people’s ability to focus on certain images or behaviours
- To some extent we are all open to suggestion (a person with their eyes closed being told they
are swaying will infact sway a little--- postural sway)
o People who respond to suggestions without hypnosis are the same ones who respond to
- After a brief hypnotic induction, a hypnotist suggests a series of experiences from easy to hard
- Highly hypnotizable people (20 percent) who can carry out a suggestion not to smell or react to
a bottle of ammonia held under their nose are those who become easily deeply absorbed in
imaginative activities... typically have rich fantasy lives
- Researchers refer to hypnotic “susceptibility” as hypnotic “ability to focus attention totally on a
task, to become imaginatively absorbed in it, to entertain fanciful possibilities
- Virtually anyone will experience hypnotic responsiveness if led to expect it
o Imagine staring up at a ceiling and someone telling you your eyes are getting heavier...
with this strain anyone’s eyes would get tired, but you would likely attribute your heavy
eyelids to the hypnotists abilities and then become more open to other suggestions
- Can hypnosis enhance recall of forgotten events?
o Most people wrongly believe that our experiences are all “in there” recorded in our
brain available for recall if only we break through our own defences
o 60 years of research disputes claims of age regressionthe supposed ability to relieve
childhood experiences--- age regressed people act as they believe a child would, but
they typically iss the mark by outperforming real children of the specified age
They may for example “feel” childlike and print like they know a 6 year old
would, but they sometimes do with perfect spelling and typically without any
change in their adult brain waves, reflexes and perceptions
o “hypnotically refreshed” mmories combine fact with fiction
Without either person being aware of what is going on a hypnotist hints “did
you hear that noise” can plant ideas that become the subjects pseudomemory
Thus Australian and british courts generally ban testimony from
witnesses who have been hypnotized
Another example are memories created under hypnosis from people
who have reported to be abducted by UFOs, most are predisposed to
believe in aliens, are highly hypnotizeable and have undergone hypnosis
- Can Hypnosis force people to act against their will
o Researchers have induced hypnotized people to perform dangerous acts..
Ie. Dipping hands in acid and throwing acid in a researcher’s face (suggested
acid.. however it was not actually acid)
People interviewed later did not recall their acts and denied they would
ever do any of this
Does hypnosis give hypnotist special control against others will? An
experiment involving a control group where they were asked to act
hypnotised and another group that was hypnotised... research
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